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One-third of public schools in Japan in flood, landslide caution zones: ministry survey

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Around one-third of Japan's public kindergartens and schools are in areas that could be hit by flooding or landslides, an education ministry survey has found.

    Results of the survey announced on June 8 showed that total of 11,175 public kindergartens and elementary, junior high and high schools are either located in "flood risk zones" that could be inundated if rivers overflowed, or "sediment disaster caution zones" at risk of landslides or similar disasters.

    Furthermore, 14.9% of schools within the river flood risk zones, and 21% within the sediment disaster caution zones had not formulated evacuation plans as they were legally required to do, highlighting deficiencies in schools' disaster preparedness.

    In recent years there have been repeated cases of schools being flooded due to torrential rain and other events, which prompted the by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to conduct a survey of 37,374 facilities on their status as of Oct. 1, 2020. The surveyed facilities included certified centers for early childhood education and care, schools providing compulsory education, and special needs schools. The results showed that 7,476 schools were in flood risk zones and 4,192 were within sediment disaster caution zones. A total of 493 of the facilities were in both zones.

    (Japanese original by Akira Okubo, Tokyo City News Department)

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